"There's no pork in Guinness is there?"

by Joe Hill

In a surprise move, talismanic Irish striker Robbie Keane has announced his conversion to the Islamic faith. At a press conference called this morning, Keane claimed: “I’ve always been a big fan of Mohammed, and as a young boy I dreamed of making the Hajj to Mecca. Islam literally means submission before Allah and I’m happy to commit to a future of being a Muslim”

The 1,400 year-old faith – a relative newcomer to world religion – counts among its supporters such luminaries as politician Mahmoud Abbas, actor Omar Sharif and singer Cat Stevens. Keane will join the ranks of prominent recent footballing converts such as Franck Ribery and Jay-Jay Okocha. It is thought that the capture of Keane constitutes a statement of intent that the religion is to be taken seriously among its more established peers.

Fielding questions alongside Keane was the leader of the Supreme Muslim Council of Ireland, Abdul Hassan, who commented. “It’s a high-profile conversion that shows the Islamic community’s ambitions on the world stage. It sends out a clear signal that we’re not just here to make up the numbers. Robbie’s pedigree as a Catholic is undeniable, and we believe that he can go from strength to strength following the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him. Also, you forget that he played for Inter Milan once.”

“The Pope’s a great fella and I’d never roll out my prayer mat in front of a church.”

When questioned about his past in Christianity, Keane responded: “Of course, I still have a lot of respect for Catholicism, the Pope’s a great fella and I’d never roll out my prayer mat in front of a church. But I’m 100% committed to Islam now, and I don’t owe anyone any favours – I’ll do my talking in the mosque!”

However, Keane was lukewarm in responding to rumours of a move to Buddhism – compounded by sightings outside temples in Los Angeles and alleged meetings with the Dalai Lama – saying: “Buddhism is a great institution and of course I’d never rule it out. As a young boy growing up in South Dublin I dreamed of one day following the Noble Eightfold Path”. At which point, Hassan drew the press conference to a hurried close.

In related news, Nicholas Anelka has refuted rumours that he is considering a move to Paganism. In a press statement, his agent said: “the two parties are a long way apart in their discussions”, though sources close to the player believe he may be holding out for an eleventh-hour conversion to Shamanism.